YOU hear some people in the national movement argue that we shouldn’t waste our time talking about ‘niche’ issues or moral questions; that our sole focus should be independence, and that all other problems and disagreements can be sorted out once we have achieved our goal.

For me, what is equally important is how we get there.

Ends and means to ends.

I have always believed that we have to be the change we want to see in the world. It matters what positions we take on key questions - especially when human rights are at stake. There can be no hierarchy among people. In the Wales I am striving to create, we will all be equal.

‘Niche’ is a perjorative term, used to demoralise and defeat. It’s code to denigrate those who take up issues affecting minorities, such as racism, misogyny and crimes against women, including domestic abuse.

More recently, campaigns against transphobia are labelled ‘niche’ to minimise hate crime. To some the Welsh language is a ‘niche’ issue. And all these issues have been conveniently used to wage culture wars: those destructive debates which fracture unity and delight the right. I have written about culture wars previously.

These are matters that transcend party politics, or should do anyway. And in any progressive organisation that claims to be socialist, like Plaid Cymru, defending minority rights, the rights of disadvantaged groups, including Welsh speakers, should be at the core of what we are about.

Why? Because if we ‘work as if we live in the early days of a better nation’, everybody’s issues matter. No one is niche. If we are not seeking independence to improve people’s lives and do politics better, what is the point? 

The point, of course, is that life is going to get an awful lot harder for an awful lot more people unless we change our political course.

It won’t be Rishi or Liz, Prada or Claire’s Accessories that people will soon be talking about. The question will be whether to heat or eat. The answer will be that many will die unless action is taken now.

So we need to fight for everyone, but fight harder for those who don’t get a fair deal. And we must do so by honest means, because if we don’t we’ll pay a high price at the ballot box.


Recently I heard someone liken the taking of a stand against domestic abuse to a moral crusade. I’m not quite sure what he meant by that.

Every November 25th, people who want to take a stand, moral or otherwise, against domestic abuse wear a white ribbon. All politicians who wore the white ribbon last November on International Day against Violence against Women were signing up to this: ‘I swear never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women. That is my oath.’ 

Is this a pledge or an empty promise? Whatever it is, those politicians who signed up to it need to act on it. Otherwise they will be guilty of hypocrisy.

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